El Chorro – Encantades and Olivetos

With a cloudy day in prospect, and rain forecast for later, we decided to stay near the campsite on the Encantades sector. A golden wave of rock giving mostly 35m routes in the low 7s on steep pockety walls.

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Much of this is quite polished, but the upper right sector has a bunch of outstanding routes including a couple of more recent 7a additions. Fiebra de Sur and Patachula.

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With nothing much easier, I ‘warmed up’ on the former – a brilliant route with an intricate cross-over on crossly finger holds at about half height and a stiff finish. With that in the bag, I lowered off and put the clips in Patachula – noting a very blank section around half way. This succumbed to a couple of finger shredding pulls and that was two 7as in the bag before lunch!
Time to ‘quit whilst you’re ahead’ I decided, and we moved right across the hillside to a newly developed sector Olivitos, bolted by a team from the Olive Branch with gear from the El Chorro bolt fund – good effort!  Whilst it doesn’t look much from below, this actually gives half a dozen excellent full rope length 6s and bs on steep juggy and pristine rock. Helen reckoned one 6a+ to be her route of the trip so far.

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By now the weather front was moving in, but the thought of imminent rain and our plans to move on, tempted me into one final route. Gros Rouge  back on Encantades, 7b and probably the route of the crag. I fell off at the first clip, not a good start, then changed my sequence and did the whole thing clean 🙂 Almost didn’t bother because I’d watched Jake find it quite tricky a few years ago. His logbook reads  ‘Solid 7b, for the blind slap crux at the top! Nearly ran out of steam…’ I must have found the weak person’s beta!

Definitely time for a celebration beer, and we catch up with Justin and Chris at the Station Bar:

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…the last of the trip, as we’re heading our separate ways (they’re taking in Portugal whilst we’re going to Tarifa before retracing our route eastwards) after a really enjoyable week. Good times!

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